Andrew D. Walker's
Civil War Diary
Preface Andrew was born May 15, 1935 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He served twice in the Union Army from that state. From his military records at the time of his first enlistment (July 7, 1863) list his civilian occupation as cooper (barrel maker). His height was five feet five inches (other parts of the records say five feet nine inches). He had blue eyes, black hair and a fair complexion. He served with the 46th Pennsylvania Volunteers and was discharged August 18th 1863. He reenlisted with the rank of corporal with his brother William on March 9th 1864. They were both assigned to �D� Company of the 184th Regiment Pennsylvania, Infantry. Andrew was discharged near Washington, D.C. on July 11th, 1865
He returned home to Pennsylvania and shortly after, left and went to Iowa. (Many of the veterans left the impoverished war-torn east and headed west. Why Andrew settled in Iowa is not known.). Within a few months, Andrew met, courted, and married Mary Agnes Miller of Millersburg, Iowa on the 29th of November 1866. The ceremony was performed by Father Sullivan in Marenga, Iowa County, Iowa. Old Man's Creek is also mentioned in the records as the place of marriage.
Andrew and Mary Agnes had seven children:
Charles N. (b. August 26,1868)
Clara (b. December 21, 1869)
George A. (b. February 10, 1879 � My grandpa Walker)
A.C. (b. November 22, 1871)
F.A.. (b. April 16, 1878)
S.A. (b. January 2, 1882)
Alice (b. January 16, 1887)
Records show that Andrew and family moved to Persia, Iowa in 1881. (There is no information as to where he lived in Iowa from 1865 until 1881. In 1898 he moved to Portsmouth. I presume that he owned or rented a farm around Persia for 17 years.)
Andrew had a disability pension up to the time of his death, August 20, 1908. The records state that his suffered with eye problems, piles, and indigestion. These ailments were contracted at Cold Harbor, Virginia, beginning around December 11, 1864.
William Walker (1842-1864)
Andrew's brother William was born in Blair County, Pennsylvania (probably Altoona) in 1842.
His military records state that he was 22 at the time of his three-year enlistment which began March9, 1864. His occupation was the same as Andrew's; cooper or shuck maker (barrel-maker). He had hazel eyes, black hair, dark complexion and was five feet six inches tall.
He was mustered into service as a Private on the 12th of May, 1864 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was assigned to the 184th Pennsylvania Infantry. A little over a month later on June 16th he was killed at Petersburg, Virginia.
June 16, 1864 was the start of the siege of Petersburg. It did not end until April2, 1865. Seven days before the end of the war.. This would not have been William's first encounter under fire. He and Andrew had been involved in the fighting at Cold Harbor from June 1 to June 12, 1864.
Andrew D. Walker's Diary
Dates of entries:
June 16, 1864
October 21 to December 13, 1864
March 6, 19, 1865
May 2, 6, 8, 1865
June 5, 8, 1865
June 16, 1864 Today brother William was killed by a ball in his left breast.. He died immediately. As soon as he fell, Sergeant William A. Harvey and George Colyer had him, and Lt. Bryan ran to him and carried him to the rear where they left him with Coyer and myself till morning When H. Melker, Henry Elder (a cousin of Andrew's), ______________, and Colyer helped me to bury him and pay the last tribute of respect to him by his companions in arms. We have all returned to the regiment after having marked his grave well so as we would know it again.
June 16, 1864 (a second entry)
My brother was killed by a ball piercing his left breast which killed him instantly.
No date - probably October 20, 1864
Shells over into the Johnnie's fort. And we seen our shells throw up four men and ours went to their roof and thru the logs up over their fort and then we hollered at them and then they throwed some shells over to our lines but they didn't do any damage to our fort. They would get them too far or shells they made not get them far enough and the sharpshooters fired on.
October 21 There was nothing of any importance went on. There were some few shells thrown but not of any account. We had inspection at 10 o'clock and then we had nothing to do till night. Then we stood guard at night.
October 22 We was all in the ____________ roof (?) and it was very cold. We put a fireplace in the tent. It was very comfortable and nice.
October 23 There was not anything of any importance going on in the front. Everything was very quiet and we drew rations in the afternoon. We had inspection. Wrote father a letter and Matilda Moyer the same day I got here.
October 24 Everything was very quiet on the front till in the afternoon. Then they got to throw shells. Me and Henry Lang was on guard. Came off at 12 o'clock.
October 24 at 12 (noon?) We got marching orders. There were some shells thrown but they didn't do any damage of any account. The boys was on picket and William Benden (another cousin of Andrew's) was wounded. He died the 25th. We picked tents putting up camp near Fort Ross but didn't know how long we will stay here in this place.
October 26 Struck tents at 2 o'clock and moved on the extreme left of the Fifth Corps (Army of the Potomac). Camped there that night.
October 27 Fell in and moved off at 3 o'clock. Formed a line and charged their works. Then moved to the left of the army. Charged across the field. They surrounded us but we got out again.
October 28 Fell back about one mile. Laid there till 12 o'clock. Then moved back to the old camp. Went into camp. All very quiet. Am very tired too.
October 29 We got marching orders. Then we struck tents. Moved about one mile and then pitched tents in the forenoon. Went to a meeting in the afternoon.
October 31 We were in camp. It was a very fine day. We were mustered for pay. Then we moved out tents. Then struck tents and moved one mile and a half. Laid down till the next morning.
November 1 We didn't put up any tents till in the evening. Then we put up our tent and helped the lieutenant to put his tent up. Then they called for pickets and I detailed them.
Henry Elder The following is from the Military Service Record.November 2 There was nothing of any importance going on. It was very quiet in the front and the sutler came up.
Corporal Henry Elder, Co., �D�, 184th Regiment Penn. Volunteers, 2nd Division, II Corps.
�The said corporal, Henry Elder, did on or about the night of the 5th of November, 1864 assault the sutler's (food suppliers) tent of said regiment attempting to pull it down and overthrow it by strength for the purpose of plunder the goods and stores of said sutler.
Charge: Inciting to riot
�Reduced to the ranks, confined to hard labor for three months with loss of all pay� upon expiration of sentence returned to regiment (December 1, 1864)
Note: Henry, after being discharged from the army, married Catherine Walker (sister Caty mentioned in the diary) on 10 November 1866 at Old Man's Catholic Church, Iowa. (He apparently went to Iowa with Andrew.)
November 3 It was very rough and cold. The boys was very sad. Especially the yearlings.
November 4 It was very cold and wet in the morning but cleared off at noon. Was very fine and warm. There was nothing of any importance.
November 5 There was some very hard shelling but none of this company hurt . There was one in the fort knocked down but not hurt. We had to stay up till 12 o'clock but there was no attack made. November 6 We got up at half past 3 o'clock. There was an attack made. The Johnnies took eight of our picket spots. They hold them but I think they will have to leave them.
November 7 I got up at 4 o'clock. Then I took the sick down to the doctor. I came back and there was three letters come for me. One from father and one from Caty and one from Mary Middleton.
November 8 - Lincoln re-elected 1864 The election went off very quiet. I didn't vote. The rest of the boys all voted but Henry (He was in the stockade.) He could not come to vote. I am very sorry for him.
There were some shells thrown but there was none hit. The Rebs threw one shell through the officers' tent in the fort. Tore it all to pieces. Then they threw one in the corner of the fort and tore the whole corner off it.
November 9 I took the Morning Report to headquarters. Then I went to see the major if I can't get to take brother William home.
He told me that as soon as we would go into winter quarters that he would get me furlough. He told me to write to father. I done so. Everything was very quiet till evening. Then we went for rations. There was some few shells thrown while we was after them. After dark the Johnnies charged but they had for to fall back.
November 10 There was nothing of any importance went on. There was some few shells thrown but they did not amount to anything. In the afternoon Henry came to see me. He is to have his trial tomorrow.
November 11 It was very quiet along the line. They was sure that the Rebs was vacating Petersburg but there is some of them here yet.
November 12 There was nothing of any importance went on. Everything was very quiet in the front. There was no shells thrown from our side.
November 13 I got up very early and got my breakfast and then James Jenkins and me went to see Henry. Took him a letter from his sister Tilly. I got one myself.
November 14 Everything was very quiet in the front and it was a very cold day. Almost cold enough for snow. I was going to go to see Henry but it was too cold for me.
November 15 - Sherman begins his march to the sea
I got up very early in the morning. Then we had to go and get stuff to put a chimney in the tent. It was very nice and warm.
There was some picket firing but it did not amount to anything. There was some few shells thrown from the Johns and then the boys returned the compliment to them
I got up very early in the morning. The boys was very hard to get up but I made them get up. Then I made out my Morning Report and handed it in. George Colyer went and took a wash. We came back to the sutler's and got some butter for dinner. In the afternoon I wrote a letter to Mary Middleton.
I got up very early in the morning and made out my Morning Report. The boys they was to have breakfast but they was all asleep. Then we got shaved. Henry Elder came over to see me and then George Colyer and me went to the sutler's and got him some things for to eat.
It was very wet and foggy but it cleared off at dinnertime and got very pleasant. That night it was wet. It rained all the next day. It was very quiet in the front. There was very little picket firing.
Everything was very quiet in the front. It rained all the day long. We got marching orders but they was countermanded. We are still at the front lines but expect to move out soon and put up winter quarters. Then I expect to get a furlough soon. I am going take my brother William home. George Colyer he was to go with me.
It was very wet and cold. The boys had for to go on picket. They said that it was awful muddy and disagreeable. I wrote Matilda Warren a letter and my sister Caty.
We got up very early in the morning. Had breakfast. When we was eating the chimney caught fire. Burnt up. We had some great fun.
We got up very early in the morning. Went almost over to the Johnnies to get some wood. They could not see us. Everything was very quiet along the line. There was no shells thrown at all.
The boys got up very early and went for to get some water to get some breakfast. The boys got the breakfast till I made out the Morning Report. Went to headquarters wit it. In the afternoon we drew rations.
There was some shelling from both sides but the Johnnies had to draw up and there was very little picket firing that day. We drew rations and got some turkey, chicken, apples, and fresh butter.
We had for to get up very early in the morning to get ready for inspection. Then George and me got some dinner. We took a sleep in the afternoon and then George went on picket.
There was very hard shelling. The Rebs are trying to shell the boys where they was on drill but they couldn't reach them.
We got up very early and got breakfast. Then we took a walk. We got marching orders. We packed up and marched to Fort Ross and stayed till morning.
We marched ten miles. They told us that we would go into winter quarters but we did not do everything that day. We got the timber for the tent but did not do anything towards putting it up. December 2
We had to work very hard to put up our house and then the next day we had to tear it down and then the boys did ____________ the officers up and down and the boys all got at it and helped us to put it right up. It rained some.
I got three letters: one from father, one from Caty, and one from Mary Middleton. I was very glad to hear from them. We did not get the house finished but if God spares us till tomorrow we will finish it.
Sunday. It was a very fine day. We did not do anything at the house that day. We rested. Henry Elder came to see me and leave as well. I was telling him that I was going to get home. He was very sorry because he could not be with me.
We was very busy and we got the house up and one bed put in. Then we got marching orders. Got up at 4 o'clock and got breakfast. Relieved the 5th Corps. It was one mile from our camp.
The boys all was sure that we was going into a fight but they was all badly fooled for as we took the 5th Corps place. Her very nice place to camp. It they would let us stay there we would be very well satisfied.
We got up very early and had orders to take down tents. We worked on ours. Then they gave us orders to wait. Done nothing more till the next morning.
We tore the tents down at dawn. Had to sleep by the breastworks. It was very cold.
In the morning it was very frosty. We had no shelter to go in. The officers gave me orders to put up tents. We put one up and made ourselves comfortable.
Everything was very quiet. We slept all the day. We got some clothing. Henry Elder was over to see me and the guard was with him.
Sunday it was very wet and cold in the morning but got pleasant in the afternoon. Drew clothing and I took Henry Elder his over to the division guard house. Had a long talk with him
It was very cold and unpleasant. We had to have drill at 9 o'clock and drill two hours. The orders was to drill in the afternoon but we didn't drill.
We went on drill and came in. They gave me orders to fall in the company. They gave me orders to pack up and march two miles.
I was home on furlough. I went to the tavern. And what a good old time of it. The snow was three foot. It was very cold. Father and Henry (Elder?) and me went. (He probably took his brother William's body back to Harrisburg.)
Returned to my company and they was still in the old camp. George and Henry was on their watch.
We left Burke Station and marched four miles. Camped overnight. The next day we marched on the other side of Five Forks. Stayed overnight and then we marched to Manchester.
The 2nd Corps marched through the city of Richmond. It was a very warm day. We marched four miles from Richmond and stayed overnight.
We marched all day and it was very warm. We crossed the Pamunkey River and Dinwiddie Courthouse in Hanover county.
The one year men left this camp and we could not raise them a cheer.
The rest of the boys and myself went on the picket line. It was very warm in the forepart of the day. It rained in the afternoon but cleared off in the afternoon.
From the diary:
Andrew D. Walker was married to Mary Agnes Miller on the 29th day of November AD 1866. Charles Nicholas Walker born August the 26th AD 1867
2 x u r
2 x u b
2 x u r for me
Comments of the Transcriber (Jim Walker � Redondo Beach, Calif.)
I did the original transcription in December of 1976. In May of 2002, I retyped the diary and added a lot of research material and photographs. However, this is a redacted copy without the additional materials and photos.
Using a magnifying glass and under strong light, I spent many hours transcribing the entries in the diary. The small hardcover book measures approximately 2 by 4 inches and has about 50 lined pages. It is in very fragile condition and the ink has faded. I have it sealed in plastic and do not expose it to strong light
In the transcription of this material, I made numerous corrections in spelling. Great grandpa probably had a minimal elementary education. He spelled many words the way they sounded to him.
The only punctuation changes made were the substitution of periods for �and�. All grammatical patterns and incorrect verb tense forms are intact.
Lined spaces in the text are for words that I could not decipher. Question marks in parentheses after a word indicate doubt as to the spelling or meaning of a word.
© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved
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